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Released: February 1974

Rating: 4.320 (average of 12 ratings)

Genre: pop rock/ proto punk

Quotable: --

Album Tracks:

  1. O My Soul
  2. Life Is White
  3. Way Out West
  4. What’s Going Ahn
  5. You Get What You Deserve
  6. Mod Lang
  7. Back of a Car
  8. Daisy Glaze
  9. She’s a Mover
  10. Morpha Too
  11. I’m in Love with a Girl


sales in U.S. only 0.02
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 0.02


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart --
peak on U.K. album chart --

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • September Gurls (?) –
  • O My Soul (?) –
  • Back of a Car


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more.

Radio City
Big Star
“In late 1972, following the release of the debut album, #1 Record, founding member Chris Bell left the group and the band became inactive for four months. Bell had already contributed to the music and lyrics of O My Soul and Back of a Car – songs which Alex Chilton recalls were written ‘by committee’ – but receives no official credit. Chilton, aided by drummer Richard Rosebrough and at times by bassist Danny Jones, completed the recording of Mod Lang, She’s a Mover, and What’s Going Ahn without Jody Stephens or Andy Hummell.” WK

With Bell largely absent from Radio City, the album “lacked something of the pop sweetness (especially the harmonies) of #1 Record. What it possessed was Alex Chilton’s urgency (sometimes desperation) on songs that made his case as a genuine rock & roll eccentric. If #1 Record had a certain pop perfection that brought everything together, Radio City was the sound of everything falling apart, which proved at least as compelling.” WR

Radio City is notable for its unique, chewy guitar sound and live-sounding yet meticulous textures, and for its somewhat tortuous recording history. The album shows the influence of British Invasion bands such as The Beatles and The Kinks.” WK “The album included September Gurls and Back of a Car, which remain among the most famous Big Star songs; both the Searchers and the Bangles have covered ‘September Gurls.’” WK

“Critically acclaimed upon its release, the record sold poorly, partly due to a lack of promotion and the distribution problems of the band’s struggling record label, Ardent Records.” WK “Stax Records, primary distributor for the band’s Ardent Records label, had recently placed distribution of its catalog in the hands of the much larger Columbia Records; Radio City’s release coincided with a disagreement between Stax and Columbia, which left Columbia refusing to distribute the catalog. As a result, the album achieved only minimal sales of around 20,000 copies at the time.” WK “It is now recognized as a milestone album in the history of power pop music.” WK

“Some of the outtakes from the album include ‘I Got Kinda Lost,’ ‘Gone with the Light,’ ‘Motel Blues’ and ‘There Was a Life’ (an early version of "There Was a Light" from Chris Bell’s I Am the Cosmos CD).

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Link(s):

previous album: #1 Record (1972) next album: Third/Sister Lovers (1975)

Video of the Bangles’ cover of “September Gurls”:

Live Video of “Back of the Car”:

Last updated March 21, 2010.